chicksdaddy writes "The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) announced on Thursday (http://www.ftc.gov/opa/2013/12/goldenshores.shtm) that it settled with the maker of a popular Android mobile application over charges that the company used deceptive advertising to collect location and device information from Android owners, The Security Ledger reports.
The FTC announced the settlement with Goldenshores Technologies, LLC of Moscow, Indiana, makers of the “Brightest Flashlight Free” Android application, saying that the company failed to disclose wanton harvesting and sharing of customers’ location and mobile device identity with third parties.
Brightest Flashlight Free, which allows Android owners to use their phone as a flashlight, is a top download from Google Play, the main Android marketplace. (https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=goldenshorestechnologies.brightestflashlight.free) Statistics from the site indicate that it has been downloaded more than one million times with an overall rating of 4.8 out of 5 stars.
The application, which is available for free, displays mobile advertisements on the devices that it is installed on. However, the device also harvested a wide range of data from Android phones which was shared with advertisers including what the FTC describes as “precise geolocation along with persistent device identifiers.”
As part of the settlement with the FTC, Goldenshores is ordered to change its advertisements and in-app disclosures to make explicit any collection of geolocation information, how it is or may be used, the reason for collecting location information and which third parties that data is shared with."Link to Original Source
chicksdaddy writes "Cyber attacks on"connected vehicles" are still in the proof of concept stage (http://www.forbes.com/sites/andygreenberg/2013/07/24/hackers-reveal-nasty-new-car-attacks-with-me-behind-the-wheel-video/). But those proofs of concept are close enough to the real thing to prompt an inquiry from U.S. Senator Ed Markey, who sent a letter (http://www.markey.senate.gov/documents/2013-12-2_GM.pdf) to 20 major auto manufacturers asking for information about consumer privacy protections and safeguards against cyber attacks in their vehicles.
Markey's letter, dated December 2, cites recent reports of "commands...sent through a car's computer system that could cause it to suddenly accelerate, turn or kill the breaks," and references research conducted by Charlie Miller and Chris Valasek on Toyota Prius and Ford Escape. (http://illmatics.com/car_hacking.pdf) and presented at the DEFCON hacking conference in Las Vegas.
"Today's cars and light trucks contain more than 50 separate electronic control units (ECUs), connected through a controller area network (CAN)...Vehicle functionality, safety and privacy all depend on the functions of these small computers, as well as their ability to communicate with one another," Markey wrote.
Among the questions Markey wants answers to:
+ What percentage of cars sold in model years 2013 and 2014 do not have any wireless entry points?
+ What are automakers' methods for testing for vulnerabilities in technologies it deploys — including third pressure technologies? Markey asks specifically about tire pressure monitors, bluetooth and other wireless technologies and GPS (like Onstar).
+ What third party penetration testing is conducted on vehicles (and any results)?
+ What intrusion detection features exist for critical components like controller area network (CAN) busses on connected vehicles?
A member of the Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee (http://www.commerce.senate.gov/public/), Markey is a longtime privacy advocate. He rose from the House to become the junior Senator from Massachusetts after winning a special election in June to replace Sen. John Kerry, who left office to become President Obama's Secretary of State."Link to Original Source
chicksdaddy writes "The Security Ledger is reporting on an article in the December issue of Usenix's ;login: logout (https://www.usenix.org/publications/login) from researchers at UCSD and George Mason University that suggests reports of Bitcoin’s anonymity may (to paraphrase Twain) “be greatly exaggerated.”
Specifically: the researchers found that, by culling a variety of open source data including public data from the Bitcoin Peer to Peer network and public Internet postings, as well as their own Bitcoin transactions, they were able to “identify major institutions” engaged in Bitcoin transactions “and the interactions between them.”
By mapping unique Bitcoin change addresses, the researchers were able to positively identify 2,197clusters of Bitcoins with common ownership. Those clusters were linked to over 1.8 million BitCoin addresses.
The experiment, though small, suggests that a large slice of the public keys used in Bitcoin transactions – around 14 percent — can be linked back to larger, institutional players, including banks, Bitcoin (or BTC) exchanges or large vendors like the now defunct Silk Road. That centralization makes the Bitcoin network susceptible to surveillance by law enforcement or governments that have the computing power and determination to track down the individuals, groups and institutions at either end of specific exchanges.
The paper, “A Fistful of Bitcoins: Characterizing Payments Among Men with No Names” (http://cseweb.ucsd.edu/~smeiklejohn/files/imc13.pdf)was presented at the IMC (Internet Measurement Conference) 2013 Conference in Barcelona, Spain in October and is reprinted in the December issue of ;login: logout a USENIX publication. It is based on research conducted at The University of California, San Diego and George Mason University. In it, the researchers, led by Sarah Meiklejohn of UCSD used a combination of strategies to “de-anonymize” the BitCoin network.
Aspects of the work have been noted before in news reports, including work that Meiklejohn did with Brian Krebs of Krebsonsecurity tracking an online purchase of heroin in Krebs name (http://krebsonsecurity.com/2013/07/mail-from-the-velvet-cybercrime-underground/). However, Meiklejohn and her colleagues have expanded their analysis of Bitcoin protocol and its potential weaknesses."Link to Original Source
chicksdaddy writes "The U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC) used a one-day workshop to highlight security and privacy issues prompted by so-called “Internet of Things.” But attendees at the event may have walked away with a more ambiguous message, as prominent technologists and industry representatives questioned whether conventional notions of privacy had much relevance in a world populated by billions of Internet-connected devices.
“I don’t feel like privacy is dead,” keynote speaker Vint Cerf, a Vice President and Chief Internet Evangelist at Google, told an audience at the FTC workshop (http://www.ftc.gov/bcp/workshops/internet-of-things/). “I do feel like privacy will be increasingly difficult for us to achieve,” Cerf warned.
And Cerf wasn’t alone in wondering whether that might not be such a bad thing – or even that unusual. “Is privacy an anomaly,” he asked attendees in a keynote speech on Tuesday.
Recalling his experience living in a small, German town where the “postmaster knew what everyone was doing," Cerf argued that the modern concept of being ‘alone in the crowd’ is a fairly recent one, borne of the industrial revolution and the growth of urbanization.
Tensions between the social benefits and costs of new technologies and the Internet of Things cropped up in many discussions during the one-day event, which featured workshops on Internet-connected “Smart Homes,” “Connected Vehicles,” and “Connected Health and Fitness.” The panel on “Connected Vehicles” saw noted researcher Tadayoshi Kohno of the University of Washington sparring with Christopher Wolf of the tech industry-backed Future of Privacy Forum over the benefits of connected car features like geo-tracking and crash detection versus the cost: potential privacy violations or remote attacks on connected car systems."Link to Original Source
ancientribe writes "Key clues are emerging that provide a clearer picture of how Edward Snowden may have pulled off the most epic insider leak in history. Security firm Venafi says it has figured out how it all went down: Snowden fabricated SSH keys and self-signed digital certificates to access and ultimately steal the NSA documents, Venafi has concluded based on public information on the breach and their analysis. Venafi is also publicly challenging the NSA and Snowden to prove its conclusion wrong."Link to Original Source
chicksdaddy writes "Veracode's blog has an interesting post on how the fast adoption of "Internet of Things" technology will empower application developers as never before.
Picking up on a post by Jim Morrish over at Bosch's Internet of Things blog (http://blog.bosch-si.com/m2m-platforms-recast-for-the-age-of-the-internet-of-things/), Veracode notes that the an ecosystem is fast developing that abstracts information from a wide range of data sources – including traditional corporate and IT systems, as well as legacy M2M platforms. The effect of that is to put power into the hands of application developers, who have free(er) reign to shape the applications that will define the Internet of Things.
Application developers can already tap off-the-shelf development tools, protocols, and features that connect them to a much wider pool of data (and, thus, possible applications). That frees them from the onerous task of mastering proprietary application logic or stove piped platforms.
Of course, the security and privacy implications of all that abstracted logic (and the boilerplate code that enables it) have yet to be worked out. Veracode has noted before that third party code in its various incarnations is already a frequent source of computer security vulnerabilities. (http://www.veracode.com/blog/2013/10/third-party-components-and-the-owasp-top-10-talking-code-part-6/)"Link to Original Source
chicksdaddy writes "All those sensors on your smartphone are great. They enable all kinds of cool features – from finding the nearest Starbucks to mobile payments. But they also pose a risk to the privacy of the phone’s owner, as malicious actors (and the occasional national government) look for ways to turn cameras and other sensors into powerful, cheap and convenient spying tools.
Now researchers at The University of Cambridge have demonstrated one possible, new attack type (http://www.lightbluetouchpaper.org/2013/11/08/5653/): harnessing the built-in video camera and microphone on Samsung Galaxy and Nexus devices to spy on an owner’s hand movements and guess his or her password, The Security Ledger reports. The technique could be a way for cyber criminals to defeat anti-keylogging technology like secure “soft” keyboards used to enter banking PINs and other sensitive information, the researchers report. (http://www.cl.cam.ac.uk/~rja14/Papers/pinskimmer_spsm13.pdf)
The lesson for mobile application developers and device makers is that “mobile devices are fundamentally different from traditional servers (and) desktops in the way we use them," Laurent Simon, one of two Cambridge University researchers who conducted the research told The Security Ledger. ”Smart phones and other devices that are “aware” of the physical world are vulnerable to new types of attacks. “This physical-world interaction needs to be considered when designing secure devices,” he wrote."Link to Original Source
chicksdaddy writes "Fresh off their discovery of a previously unknown (‘zero day’) security hole in Microsoft’s Internet Explorer web browser (http://www.fireeye.com/blog/technical/2013/11/new-ie-zero-day-found-in-watering-hole-attack.html), researchers at the security firm Fireeye say that they have evidence that a string of sophisticated attacks have a common origin.
In a report released on Monday (http://www.fireeye.com/resources/pdfs/fireeye-malware-supply-chain.pdf), the firm said that many seemingly unrelated cyber attacks identified in the last year appear to be part of a “broader offensive fueled by a shared development and logistics infrastructure” — what Fireeye terms a ‘supply chain’ for advanced persistent threat (APT) style attacks.
At least 11 APT campaigns targeting “a wide swath of industries” in recent months were found to be built on a the same infrastructure of malicious applications and services, including shared malware tools and malicious binaries with the same timestamps and digital certificates, Fireeye reports.
“Taken together, these commonalities point to centralized APT planning and development,” Fireeye wrote."Link to Original Source
chicksdaddy writes "Factory-installed and even aftermarket identity management applications may soon be standard components on automobiles, as the federal government looks for ways to leverage automation and collision avoidance technology to make the country’s highways and roadways safer. That’s the conclusion of a new report from the Government Accountability Office. Vehicle to vehicle communications are poised to take off, but that significant security and privacy challenges must first be met, identity management top among them, GAO found.
The report, GAO 14-13 (http://gao.gov/assets/660/658709.pdf) said that the US Dept. of Transportation (DOT) is looking at public-key infrastructure (PKI) deployments that would allow automobiles to authenticate to each other and ensure that the data being transmitted has not been tampered with.
GAO quotes officials at one auto industry consortium known as “CAMP VSC 3,” which includes Ford Motor Company, GM, Honda and Mercedes, saying that the security system will need to be able to detect “misbehaving devices—such as devices that are malfunctioning, used maliciously, or hacked,” then “automatically revoke certificates from vehicles with such devices.”"Link to Original Source
chicksdaddy writes "The über-popular Nest smart thermostat (http://nest.com/) has become the poster child for the wonderful possibilities of "The Internet of Things." The sleek, device is an object lesson in how software driven, smartly designed and cloud-connected devices will transform our physical spaces. Under the hood, however, many of these devices – the Nest included – fail to live up to their slick and polished exteriors and graphical interfaces.
To that point, The Security Ledger has an interview with Daniel Buentello, an independent security researcher who most recently made the rounds with his "Weaponizing your Coffee Pot" talk at DerbyCon and ToorCon Seattle. (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9YwF7cj_OKc#t=1972)
Buentello talks to Security Ledger about his new research on The Nest — a powerful, sensor rich device about which little is known. Buentello said the Nest's reliance on cloud-based management infrastructure is a particular concern.
"The situation here is a lot worse than what meets the eye," he said. "These connected (device) clouds are basically web apps without a user interface." And, like any web app, they're vulnerable to attack.
As Buentello showed with research on the Belkin WeMo platform, would-be Nest hackers could use Nest APIs to fuzz the Nest cloud, finding exploitable vulnerabilities. This would be similar to what happened to many social network and e-commerce operations in the early days of mobile phone app craze, when hackers figured out that they could manipulate mobile APIs.
The lack of "traditional" user interfaces on devices like the Nest might give developers the (false) security that the devices can't be hacked by traditional means. As for a Nest botnet, Buentello said that he's conducting research that might show how it might be possible to hijack the Nest cloud and use it to control devices in the field, but he isn't talking."Link to Original Source
chicksdaddy writes "It's another day, another face-palm moment for the home surveillance camera industry.
Just one month after the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) settled a complaint (http://www.ftc.gov/opa/2013/09/trendnet.shtm) with the maker of SecurView, a line of poorly secured home surveillance cameras, a researcher at the firm Duo Security (http://www.duosecurity.com) has found a slew of even more serious security holes in the IZON Camera — a popular product that is sold in Apple Stores and Best Buy, among others. A review by The Security Ledger found dozens of such systems accessible via the public Internet, in some cases allowing anyone to peer into the interiors of private residences and businesses.
Mark Stanislav (@markstanislav), the Security Evangelist at the firm Duo Security conducted an audit of the IZON hardware and corresponding iOS mobile application software used to manage it. He documented a slew of troubling security lapses including an easily guessed, default user account for the Web-based GUI used to view live video streams, wide-open configuration with wide-open ports for accessing the device by Telnet and HTTP, unencrypted communications and video streaming to and from IZON devices and hard-coded, undocumented root account for the linux based devices.
Using the search engine Shodan.org, Stanislav compiled a list of scores of IP addresses of IZON cameras exposed on the Internet – some deployed behind simple DSL broadband connections. A review of that list by The Security Ledger revealed a handful of exposed Web interfaces that allow anyone with an Internet connection and knowledge of the default user name and password to take control of the camera: viewing a live video feed, making video recordings that can be automatically uploaded to YouTube or other cloud-based services, and even sounding audio alarms. In one case, the camera appeared to be deployed in a private residence in Kissimmee, Florida, where an elderly couple were seen caring for an infant. Others showed the interiors and exteriors of private residences – some occupied, others obviously vacant. (https://i1.wp.com/securityledger.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/10/IZON-Photos.jpg)
The CTO for Stem Innovation of Salt Lake City (http://steminnovation.com/), which makes the IZON cameras said that the IZON firmware, server system and iOS applications tested by Stanislav have been updated since the Summer, when Stanislav's research was conducted. He claims the research contains “inaccurate and misleading information.” Stem did not provide specific information about any inaccuracies."Link to Original Source
chicksdaddy writes "More than six months after hacked Emergency Alert System (EAS) hardware allowed a phony warning about a zombie uprising to air in several U.S. states, a security consulting company is warning that serious issues persist in software from Monroe Electronics, whose equipment was compromised in the earlier attack.
In a blog post (http://blog.ioactive.com/2013/10/strike-two-for-emergency-alerting.html), Mike Davis of the firm IOActive said patches issued by Monroe Electronics, the Lyndonville, New York firm that is a leading supplier of EAS hardware, do not adequately address problems raised earlier this year, including the use of “bad and predictable” login credentials. Further inspection by Davis turned up other problems that were either missed in the initial code review or introduced by the patch. They include the use of “predictable and hard-coded keys and passwords,” as well as web-based backups that were publicly accessible and that contained valid user credentials.
Monroe’s R-189 CAP-EAS product was the target of a hack in February during which EAS equipment operated by broadcasters in Montana, Michigan and other states was compromised and used to issue an alert claiming that the “dead are rising from their graves,” and advising residents not to attempt to apprehend them. (http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/02/12/us-usa-zombie-montana-idUSBRE91B1IA20130212) CAP refers to the Common Alerting Protocol, a successor to EAS.
A recent search using the Shodan search engine by University of Florida graduate student Shawn Merdinger found more than 200 Monroe devices still accessible from the public Internet. 66% of those were running vulnerable versions of the Monroe firmware, The Security Ledger reports."Link to Original Source
chicksdaddy writes "Security Ledger brings news that the Norwegian firm, ThinFilm (http://www.thinfilm.no/) has successfully tested a printable electronics component that it claims is the first, fully-functional “smart” label. (http://www.thinfilm.no/news/stand-alone-system/) The company claims its disposable Smart Sensor Label can track the temperature of perishable goods and is a “complete closed system built from printed and organic electronics.”
Smart Sensor is being marketed to pharmaceutical makers as a way to keep temperature-sensitive drugs and to food wholesalers, which can track the temperature their product is kept at throughout the supply chain. When "critical temperature thresholds" are reached, the Smart Sensor label will change to indicate that using an integrated display driver. Such labels could make it possible to easily monitor the condition of large quantities of product, keeping it safe and effective and preventing perfectly useable products from being destroyed. But the possible applications of printable electronics are huge: they can be produced for a fraction of the cost of comparable technologies because they don’t need to be assembled. And, because they’re flexible and paper-like, they can be deployed pretty much anywhere you can stick a label — something ThinFilm's CEO says could provide an extensible platform for the much-ballyhooed "Internet of Things.""Link to Original Source
pacopico writes "A series of robberies in Silicon Valley have start-ups feeling nervous. According to this report in Businessweek, a couple of networking companies were burgled recently with attempts made to steal their source code. The fear is that virtual attacks have now turned physical and that espionage in the area is on the rise. As a result, companies are now doing more physical penetration testing, including one case in which a guy was mailed in a FedEx box in a bid to try and break into a start-up."Link to Original Source
chicksdaddy writes "Google has been increasingly vocal in calling "bulls**t" on attempts by security software firms to paint its Android mobile operating system as 'the next Windows" and a malware-ridden mess. Now the company says it has the numbers to prove it.
Speaking at the Virus Bulletin Conference in Berlin last week, Android team member Adrian Ludwig told an audience of antivirus experts and industry-folk that reports about Android malware (many of them propagated by AV firms) were overblown and obscured the real story: Android’s success at blocking actual infections. Citing Google data (https://docs.google.com/presentation/d/1YDYUrD22Xq12nKkhBfwoJBfw2Q-OReMr0BrDfHyfyPw/pub?start=false&loop=false&delayms=3000), Ludwig told the assembled that new security features, such as the Bouncer app testing service and Verify Apps technology make actual infections of Android devices a one-in-a-million occurrence, the Security Ledger reports.
Data collected by the Verify Apps service, which logs events involving a hazardous applications, found that only 1,200 of 1.5 billion application install attempts were incidents in which “potentially harmful applications” ended up being installed on an Android device, Ludwig said.
This is just the latest effort by Ludwig to throw cold water on feverish reports about skyrocketing Android malware. (http://www.eweek.com/security/mobile-malware-threat-growth-hits-record-in-q2-mcafee) In June, Ludwig told an audience at an FTC-sponsored event in Washington D.C. that reports of widespread infections due to the recently discovered "BadNews" malware were simply not true.“We’ve observed the app(lication) and we’ve reviewed all the logs we have access to,” he said. “We haven’t seen a single instance of abusive SMS applications being downloaded as a result of BadNews,” Ludwig said at the time. (https://securityledger.com/2013/06/google-badnews-malware-not-so-bad-after-all/)"Link to Original Source